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WWI American Immigrant Poetry Project

Lorie A. Vanchena, Director, WWI American Immigrant Poetry Project

Associate Professor, German Studies, University of Kansas

Director, Max Kade Center for German-American Studies


Lorie A. Vanchena, Associate Professor of German Studies, University of Kansas, directs the Max Kade Center for German–American Studies. Her research interests include World War I immigrant poetry, German–American national identity and culture, and the digital humanities. She has published a monograph on 19th–century German political poetry, a scholarly English translation of Reinhold Solger’s German-American novel Anton in Amerika (1862), and articles on German–American literature. A recent book chapter, “German Americans: Dual Loyalties and Poetic Adaptations of ‘The Watch on the Rhine’,” appeared in A History of American Literature and Culture of World War One, edited by Timothy Dayton and Mark W. Van Wienen (2021). She has served on the Faculty Advisory Board for the KU Center for Undergraduate Research and she chaired the Planning Committee for the KU WWI Centennial Commemoration 2014-2018. She currently serves on the Douglas County Historical Society Board of Directors, which operates the Watkins Museum of History in Lawrence, Kansas. The Max Kade Center has partnered with the Watkins Museum on exhibits and programs that explore local German immigrant history. Vanchena is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Exceptional Student Mentoring, Excellence in Research Initiative (2018); the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (2017); and the Michael Young Academic Advisor Award (2015).

Andrew Crist, B.S., Mathematics and Economics, University of Kansas, May 2017

May 2015 - present


As an undergradate, Andrew Crist was responsible for all technical aspects of the WWI American Immigrant Poetry Project. He initially encoded poems in XML using the template he had created and helped troubleshoot encoding problems for other undergraduates working on the project. He wrote the RELAX NG schema and XSL, JavaScript, XSLT, and CSS we used to transform XML into HTML. While still an undergraduate, he designed and built the project web tool. Since earning his degree, he has continued to provide critical support for this project.

Crist presented at the Digital Frontiers academic conference (University of Kansas, fall 2018) on best practices for transforming XML into a format suitable for natural language processing (NLP). Using data from this poetry project, he generated a probability distributions modeling the likelihood that an input file would be longer or shorter than a given length of words, for example, or could model word count for the corpus, unique word counts, or average unique word counts, and he conducted sentiment analysis.

Crist is currently employed as a researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill using data science to study political bias online and he works as a consultant for Nasdaq.

Special thanks to Janelle Fox, Caelan Graham, and Ashley Yoder, who as undergraduates contributed significantly to the World War I American Immigrant Poetry Project by identifying primary sources, encoding poems, and creating other content for the web tool..

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Max Kade Center for German-American Studies

1445 Jayhawk Blvd.

Lawrence, KS 66045